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  1. #1
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    Dec. 5, 2001
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    Default ?'s on when to spay and spay incontinence in female dogs

    My female pup is 4 months old soon and I'm trying to make the right decision on when to have her spayed. Vet says between 5 - 6 months. breeder recomends 6-7 months. Co-owner of the pup's mom said that the mother didn't come into heat until a year old and felt that it's best to spay after one heat. I've read online about spay early vs spay late. The spay later folks seem to think that a later spay will help prevent female urine incontinence.

    What does the COTH peeps think?
    When did you have your female spayed? What size dog is she?
    Anyone dealt with spay/urine incontinence?

    I've heard that larger breed dogs should wait longer than 6 months, as they are slow to grow and mature.

    My pup is 15.5 inches 21 lbs and should grow to be 17-19 inches and 30 -35 lbs.



  2. #2
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    Apr. 2, 2007
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    Upstate, NY
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    Default

    When did you have your female spayed? 4 months
    What size dog is she? smaller lab
    Anyone dealt with spay/urine incontinence? yes unfortunatly she has it and in time it's getting better but do wish I waited until she was 6 months. She will be 2 next month.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    I've had several females spayed between ... what, 4 and 6 months? with no issues, ever. Younger dogs heal faster. Never an issue with incontinence in any of the girls spayed early.

    I had one girl spayed following her first heat (my mistake, time just got away from me, and I don't consider a bitch in heat to be a big deal) and she took longer to heal and tolerated anesthesia poorly. She had to be hospitalized for several days. She was perhaps 14 months at the time.

    Spaying before the first hear really reduces the chance of mammary cancer.

    Unless there's a REASON to wait--there's some question on whether the dog is quality enough to be bred at a later date--spay before the first heat.



  4. #4
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    Oct. 14, 2004
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    Default

    I'm not a Vet, but as far as I know there is no valid theory to wait until they have had at least one heat.

    Go to your Vet and find out for sure. I've spayed mine at 6 months. No reason to wait and possibly bring in a litter of puppies into the already way over populated pet population.
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  5. #5
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    Jul. 15, 2008
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    East Coast
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    We were always told once the permanent canine teeth were in completely was the time to spay/neuter. I adopted a boxer/lab that was supposed to be 11 months old and spayed. Six months later she came into her first heat. Had no choice but to spay her in heat. Thankfully I had a very good vet. Unfortunately she developed incontinence issues and is now on Proin. Vet does not believe it had anything to do with her being spayed while in heat.
    If there are no pets in Heaven then I want to go where they went !!!
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  6. #6
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Female dogs can get mammary cancer with only one heat cycle. I would not take any chance with that. It is awful. I have known of a few dogs with it....it isn't pretty. I have a very small dachshund female that I spayed at 5 months. She did great. I am glad that I didn't get her done any later. She is wonderful. I don't have any issues with incontinence with her. I would rather take incontinence over cancer any day of the week.

    I would say sooner vs later. No heat cycle if you are not breeding her. Find a vet that specializes in spaying. We have a clinic that only does spay and neuter. I have used them for many years without incident.

    Good Luck.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Default

    Also, with such a small dog, I would not count on her coming into heat late. I'd expect a 35 lb bitch to come into heat by 8 months. Sure, it can be later....but usually isn't.



  8. #8
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    Apr. 7, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post

    Spaying before the first hear really reduces the chance of mammary cancer.
    I've been told the most recent studies show that it's a pretty significant reduction in the chance of cancer. Definatly less than the risk for incontinence (which isn't a killer like cancer and is usually very easy to treat).

    We had our most recent female spayed at 5.5 months- no problems at all.



  9. #9
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    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Default

    Most of my dogs were spayed at 4-6 months, the last two pups were done at 4 months. My stray dog was just done, and she had at least one heat cycle. No issues with any of them.

    I only had one dog with incontinence problems, her's came at old age, and Proin kept it under control. I also have one dog that was incontinent before she was spayed, that is because she has a birth defect called pelvic bladder. Proin also helps her keep that under control.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  10. #10
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Our vet spays right before six months, but mostly after four, if there is any doubt she may be older.

    We had many female dogs over the years, all spayed before six months and have never had one that was incontinent.

    Some times it does happen, but not that common.
    Those females that have had heats, even just one, tend to develop mammary cancer when older and that can kill them several years before their time.

    A friend waited for the first heat and after that spayed her later agility champion and that golden was incontinent all her life, but on some medication didn't leak at all.
    She spayed her next female before 6 months and she is now three and not incontinent.



  11. #11
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    Dec. 5, 2001
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    virginia
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    Default age question

    ok good to hear, I'll aim for before her first heat.

    NOW for a really a stupid question; how do you count the age? She was born May 18th. So does that mean that she is 5 months old on October 18th?? Or does that mean she turns 5 months old on the 20th week; which is September 28th???? So confusing.

    I was told to keep her quiet for 2 weeks after the spay surgery. So I am planning on having her spayed during a less active time in our families schedule.
    the best time to spay would be after her last Obed class Oct 16th or in the first of November. But I'm trying to figure out her age (see above) Nov 2nd starts her 25th week. Is she 5 1/2 months old then???



  12. #12
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    ok good to hear, I'll aim for before her first heat.

    NOW for a really a stupid question; how to you count the age? She was born May 18th. So does that mean that she is 5 months old on October 18th?? Or does that mean she turns 5 months old on the 20th week; which is September 28th???? So confusing.
    I would say October 18th she is five months and you want to spay right after that and before November 18th, unless your vet tells you different, knowing the dog.

    The smaller the dog, the quicker they seem to mature sexually, so if she is a small dog, you want to spay sooner rather than later.



  13. #13
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    Thanks Bluey, I think between 5 and 6 months is the way to go right now. So she'll get spayed between Oct 18th and Nov 1st. I'll call the vet for an apt tomorrow.

    I don't tend to think of her as small, more of a medium sized dog. She's a Standard Schnauzer and the biggest pup from her litter. The dogs I met at the breeders were all knee height (17-19 inches). the same size as the Australian Shepherds we used to have in the early 80's (the Aussies now seem to be larger and hairier by comparison) I'd think a small dog, like a Miniature Schnauzer, would mature early.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    I don't tend to think of her as small, she's a Standard Schnauzer and the biggest pup from her litter. The dogs I met at the breeders were all knee height (17-19 inches). I'd think a small dog, like a Miniature Schnauzer, would mature early.
    I have 70 lbs dogs. A 35 lb dog is small to me

    And a 35 lb dog definitely doesn't fall into ANY "large breed" grouping. Small to medium instead.



  15. #15
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    this girl is 21lbs now, I think that she'll easily go to 40 lbs. I think she is a Medium Sz Dog. NOT large by any means.

    But yes, size is all relative isn't it.

    I think large is a Great Dane/GSD.
    medium is Lab/Aussie
    small is Jack Russell/Bichon Frise

    One Aussie we used to have was 75 lbs, but still she was a medium sz dog. I wouldn't call 70 large either, but again it depends on the dog, the breed and the height. And if they were overweight, like the 75 lb Aussie.



  16. #16
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    Jun. 14, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NRB View Post
    But yes, size is all relative isn't it.

    I think large is a Great Dane/GSD.
    medium is Lab/Aussie
    small is Jack Russell/Bichon Frise
    Actually, I think Large Breed dogs is anything over 50lbs and "Giant" Breeds are over 100. It is a bit of a misnomer though because Labradors are Large breed dogs but due to poor breeding, etc. a lot of them are over 100 pds, but they shouldn't be considered "Giant" Breed like St. Bernards and Great Danes.

    I spayed my female at 5 months as per the vet's recommendation and she started experiencing female incontinence at 2 years of age! She had to have estrogen shots and was on a drug called phenylpropanolamine for about a year. Thankfully, she grew out of that when she gained a bit more body fat and will only have an accident when she goes swimming and fills up her bladder. If I could do it over again, I would have waited a bit longer. My vet also did an entire hysterectomy (removal of uterus and ovaries) and I'm not sure that was the best idea either. We are pretty sure when she gets older she will have serious incontinence issues as a result of the loss of hormones - especially estrogen.

    Personally, I think vets and animal rescues are so crazed about spay/neuter and keeping the unwanted animal population down (which I agree for the most part) that the secondary problems associated with the practice are usually brushed under the carpet.
    Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.



  17. #17
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    ---"Personally, I think vets and animal rescues are so crazed about spay/neuter and keeping the unwanted animal population down (which I agree for the most part) that the secondary problems associated with the practice are usually brushed under the carpet."---

    On the other hand, having a female with pyometra or six or seven year old dog with prostate or mammary cancer is a sad way to see them die early and that is rather common on those neutered later or never.

    I agree that neutering to curb the overpopulation is a worthy goal also, but it is not the only one.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 12, 2003
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    New York
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    I had this same post on Off Topic a few months ago. Here's what I did...

    I had an Airedale Terrier puppy. My vet wanted her spayed BEFORE 6 months. The breeder said wait until after the first heat due to growing reasons. Claims puppies spayed too early will just keep growing and have joint issues.

    I wanted until my dog was 7 months. And guess what??? My dog is smaller than she's supposed to be! So much for dogs that are spayed keep growing... Personally, I feel that they do need the hormones for developing but the cancer threat was too large for me. So I left her intact as long as possible before the first heat. Seemed to work nicely and I have a beautiful dog at 1.3 years old.
    Kristen

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  19. #19
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    What the breeder meant is that at puberty, there are some growth plates that are set to close at sexual maturity, those hormones, especially in males, do help signal the growth plates of the long bones in the leg to close.

    If we neuter before that surge of hormones and that doesn't happen then, of course, we may see a smidgen of longer time of growth in those bones, making maybe those bones a little bit longer than they normally would be.

    Since the body is growing all along and that is the way it is learning to be, it doesn't really matter if the leg bone is a few milimeters longer, as long as the whole body is growing at the same rate.

    Now, if there is an injury and one bone only doesn't develop at the same rate than the rest, then you may have a problem later from that.

    I hope this puts that in perspective, where yes, we may alter some growth for a minimal effect, but the advantages of not having a sexually active animal and later a very high risk of cancer from that, as we do in entire dogs as a species, that is something you as an owner have to weight.

    Most good breeders I know neuter both sexes as soon as they know they are not going to breed any more, because they have been living with the consequences as their dogs get older and know, if it was not for their need to raise puppies, for a pet dog, it is not worth the risks.

    The same happens in horses, that those males gelded before two may have a little more longer lower leg bones and so maybe be 1/2" taller than they would have been left intact past puberty.
    Same principle, the growth plates closing at that time is not happening then for another six months.

    In dogs, some breeds show that more, like whippets, because they are so long and lean anyway and you do get to see the males neutered early may be a hair leggier than those not.
    Other breeds, that is not so noticeable, because of their heavier built or hairy coats, especially since the difference is really minimal.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 9, 2007
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    I have my female dogs spayed (or my males altered) when they are a year old, because I want their bones and everything else to mature. I am very careful not to let anyone breed however.

    Because of the huge overpopulation of dogs and cats, and because some people do not know they can take a bitch or queen in to the vet's within 3 days of being bred and get a shot to prevent pregnancy, humane societies and vets down south here started doing spaying/altering on puppies and kittens as young as 6 weeks old (started over 20 yrs ago). I do not have any of those animals, but friends have adopted some and they had no adverse effects from early spaying/altering.

    My aussies used to come in season at 6 months of age, then due to some genetic changes by my breeder, they now come into season at 1 yr of age.

    The issue about cancer is primarily genetic, not spaying/altering. I had a 3 yoa aussie die from cancer (genetic from an outbreeding by my breeder) and I've had aussies live to be 14/15/16 yoa.
    All of these dogs were spayed (I only buy bitches) at 1 yoa. My male aussie was never altered and he lived to be 16 yoa. My male dogs (rescues all) lived to be 11, 14, and one is 14 now, and they were all altered at 1 yoa.) All my dogs were/are large.

    (My WB was not gelded till he was 4 yoa and he's 16.2.)



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